Within hours of this Newspaper landing on doorsteps all over Wellington County, Ontario residents will learn who the leader will be for the Progressive Conservative Party in the next election.
A goodly number of people won’t care, because they don’t vote and don’t participate in much beyond their own self-amusement. For those of us who do care, it is an important choice we hope the party doesn’t botch one more time.
For those of us in ridings outside of Toronto it has been a grueling two decades watching the Liberals returned to office despite numerous scandals, reckless spending and a disconnect with rural Ontario. There is palpable mistrust of urban ridings that continue to vote Liberal despite many reasons not to. But, to be fair, in each and every election, either the PC leader or his advisors have done something to turn off voters.
First it was John Tory with his ideas about charter schools for lack of a better term and then Tim Hudak suggesting the province needed to cut 100,000 civil servants. These things were distractions that propelled the Liberals back into power. Ontario can’t afford such mistakes this election.
This last minute leadership race and the absence of defined policies will cause many questions about what the new leader and party actually stand for. Any and every nuance of a policy or musing will be scrutinized by the Liberals and media friendlies, to their advantage. A bumbler cannot be leader this election.
Watching the political climate unfold in recent years we have come to the conclusion that politicians are now engaged in a game of who is the nicest, as opposed to who can handle the job. The electorate shares blame for going along with that mentality, overlooking fiscal prudence in favour of getting “free” stuff. These additional programs and entitlements all have a cost.
Whether Ontarians want to admit it or not, the current path of deficit spending and increasing expenditures will lead eventually to a very unhappy ending. Since the Liberals took power the debt has doubled to almost $311 billion – with almost 10 per cent of its current revenue going towards interest payments alone. Imagine the calamity should interest rates rise.
Hydro, one of the most important assets for citizens and business alike, has been mismanaged. Portions were sold off for political expediency and financial benefits never to be realized again. As any old farmer will tell you, once you sell the farm it’s over. Selling off assets is often just short-term gain and the chance of getting it back is pretty slim.
For the sake of the province and voters weary with the current government, we hope the Progressive Conservatives make a good choice on Friday night.
Ontario needs it.